Geriatric Psychiatry of Haldimand Norfolk facilitated a workshop in June 1995 during which community agency participants recognized the need to address elder abuse. A steering committee was struck.
Initial funding was provided by Health Canada through the Partners in Aging Program. The elder abuse project created a resource library, educational manuals, and conducted an abuse survey and public and professional education sessions.
In January 1998 the Ontario Trillium Foundation made funds available for the establishment of a community based and senior-driven interlinking Community Response Network to assist abused and neglected older adults in Haldimand Norfolk. Objectives were to create a sustainable community-based response network, to work to prevent abuse, and to provide non-threatening accessibility to local services.
British Columbia Developing Community Response Networks Program and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly trained members who would become part of a speakers bureau.
Additional funds sponsored the development of “STOP” (Seniors Together with Other People), the hiring of a coordinator who coached a Senior Peer Support programme and an intergenerational programme.
Today, the network’s two primary focuses are to provide immediate response to abuse, and to increase community awareness and education. A toll free 24 hour phone line operates through Victim Crisis Assistance Response Services of Haldimand Norfolk. As abuse becomes apparent to network agency members, an ad hoc committee is called together to enact a plan for immediate help. The network reaches out to the community providing education and awareness through its educational resources, Speakers’ Bureau and education forums.